Published: Mon, June 17, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

South Africa beat Afghanistan by nine wickets in Cricket World Cup

South Africa beat Afghanistan by nine wickets in Cricket World Cup

Faf du Plessis was a relieved man after South Africa won their first game of the 2019 World Cup, beating Afghanistan on Saturday (June 16). Meanwhile, Afghanistan batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi felt his team has enough quality to upset hosts England next week but the onus would be on the batsmen to score crucial runs.

Quinton de Kock (68) and Hashim Amla (41*) then ate a chunk out of the target with South Africa's first 100-run partnership of the World Cup before Phehlukwayo, promoted to No 3, finished off the job.

The 40-year-old leg spinner picked up a wicket with his first ball - a ripping, dipping trademark googly that burst through the defence of opener Noor Ali Zadran - and bowled tight and disciplined lines that saw Afghanistan lose five wickets for just eight runs in a five over period.

At that point, the match was delayed by rain for the second time, and when the hostilities resumed, the Proteas pounced, striking four times in 13 balls for the addition of a solitary run after the resumption.

Rashid Khan, Afghanistan's own supreme wrist bowler, clubbed 35 runs from 25 balls but even he, with his own specialist knowledge of the art, could not survive for long - picking out Rassie van der Dussen on the boundary after failing to get hold of another quicker ball.

Amla batted through the innings and finished on 41 not out off 83 balls, which was a perhaps a little slower than South Africa would have wanted but ideal for finding his touch.

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Poised to welcome back "x-factor" fast bowler Lungi Ngidi from injury, South Africa insist they can still make an impact at this Cricket World Cup ahead of a big match against New Zealand. "Today a really good step in the right direction", he said. Our intensity was much better.

Tahir's celebration nearly included a lap of honour, such is the burst of energy he got. But while de Kock and Amla's 104-run opening stand settled the result, the match really turned on Tahir's remarkable spin with the ball. I thought once again Andi and Chris were very good through the middle there. We were up for it.

"Imran, as always, is special, but I think especially on a wicket like that today where it's not suited for spinners, straight boundaries, to get four wickets like that today was an fantastic bowling performance".

"We didn't expect that spell from Tahir", said Nabi. We did well against the seamers but the batsmen didn't take responsibility in the middle. We spoke about having more energy in the field and you could really see a big difference in the team.

South Africa face Afghanistan - the only side below them in the 10-team table - in Cardiff on Saturday. They might have done it more quickly with more confidence, but they wanted this victory so badly.

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